Louis Vuitton replica watches has been in the habit of exceeding expectations when it comes to watchmaking, delivering surprises such as the Spin Time and the Twin Chrono alongside more accessible, but still intriguing designs.
Since the opening of its new premises, La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton, in the Geneva suburb of Meyrin in 2014, those expectations have naturally risen. With something over 40,000 square feet of light-filled ateliers, La Fabrique du Temps brings under one roof the diverse group of watchmakers, craftsmen, designers and technicians who had previously been found spread across Switzerland’s watchmaking Cantons. That concentration was intended by Louis Vuitton’s Vice President for watches and jewellery, Hamdi Chatti, to allow the brands watchmaking to step up to a new level.
Somewhat coyly, Louis Vuitton prefers the term “Fabrique” to “Manufacture”, which is strictly correct, but don’t imagine that means any particular limit to the ambitions in play. The team now brought together in Geneva has serious new copy watchmaking form – alongside the Twin Chrono, there’s been a very clever Minute Repeater version of the World Time and now Louis Vuitton has laid down a marker with the new Flying Tourbillon Poinçon de Genève.
That’s right – this watch adheres to the rigorous standards required to meet the Poincon de Geneve, a mark of quality awarded to very few watchmakers; Vacheron Constantin, Cartier, Chopard, Roger Dubuis and Ateliers de Monaco among them. Producing such a tourbillon to Geneva Seal is a serious statement of intent, as the accreditation requires so much more than simply making a fine watch – it’s not just the watch that’s certified, but the entire manufacturing process. But more than that, the watch is a take on “haute horlogerie” that is purely in character with the brand.
Most striking is the case shape that seems to suggest retro influences without obviously being a pastiche of earlier decades – there’s a suggestion of the late 70’s that’s hard to pin down, but something to do with the wide dial and narrow lugs. The play of different angles and surfaces even hints at the 80’s, a decade that cheap fake watchmaking has yet to rehabilitate.
Within is the LV104 calibre, which was developed from scratch at La Fabrique du Temps to meet the Poinçon de Genève criteria. Appearing to float within the case, the stripped down movement has a sense of tension created by the edge of the sapphire dial appearing to float above the tourbillon cage, which, itself floats from the edge of the case (there is a wheel that connects both, but it’s only barely there). The effect is fabulous, a combination of true Geneva tradition and pure Louis Vuitton panache.